In his exhibition "Feeding the Beast," the artist from Nashville, Tennessee, presents his latest preoccupation with expressive motives, specifically focusing on the faces of beasts. Upon entering the gallery, all eyes are on you. Beasts stare at you from different canvases, watercolor paintings, and two sculptures. Some of them have hypnotizing eyes made out of spirals reminiscent of fantastic creatures, while others squint their eyes like evil villains. Meanwhile, the rest of them try to lure you in with their friendly flower eyes. It feels as if these characters are peering right into your soul. The choice of vivid colors balances out the somewhat scary nature of these beasts, making them appear soft and approachable.
Jonathan Edelhuber, best known for his calm stilllifes with book and plant arrangements, balances his practice with stimulating and bold imagery. "This show and particular body of work is a celebration of expression and the result of a fierce need to paint," says the artist about his recent practice. The accumulation of paint, as well as years of accumulated thought, fill each surface and result in colorful and intricate self-portraits. It becomes clear that the "beast" here is a symbolic representation of the sometimes unstoppable urge of an artist to physically articulate themselves through art. The perfect nature of Edelhuber's geometric compositions is disrupted by elements such as dripping paint, introducing a sense of duality throughout the entire exhibition.
Edelhuber metaphorically "feeds the beast," the artist inside him, while making a commentary on what it means to exist as an artist. Additionally, examining the titles of some of the paintings, such as "AI Beast," reveals that Edelhuber is making a broader commentary on current topics like artificial intelligence. Recently there have been discussions about AI potentially replacing humans in various creative fields such as music and movies. However, when it comes to making visual art that is physically experienced, AI would be hard-pressed to replicate the human touch. The tactile and emotional connection that emerges from an artist's personal expression is deeply ingrained in the creation of visual art, making it a unique and irreplaceable form of human expression. "Feeding the Beast" stands as a testament to the enduring power of the human artist to create and connect on a deeply personal level.